During the 20+ years in the localization business, providing DTP services to the biggest LSPs in the industry, we have worked on many tools, some great, some of them, well, less great. Over the years we’ve also received several questions from our customers regarding the tools we use and the recommendations we can make. Depending on projects, we use a variety of tools and software, there’s no one tool for all projects, and the ability to decide which one to use in specific project is crucial. There is, however, a certain number of tools we consider our Top 10 DTP tools.
#1 Adobe FrameMaker
A widely used localization industry flag tool used for authoring and publishing multilingual technical content making it suitable for desktop, mobile, web and print. Adobe FrameMaker has been our tool-to-go for years and is still considered across our team to be one of the most reliable, stabile and best working tool for technical documentation localization. Whenever we take on a project from our LSP customers, we strive for excellence and Adobe FrameMaker helps us make it possible.
This is our first choice-tool, however, there are customers who have their own preferences when it comes to tools. We stay open to their needs, but whenever it is possible, we offer our insight and experience in the aspects of which tool is best for a certain type of content. Whether you decide to partner up with a professional desktop publishing provider, or you have your own in-house team of DTP professionals, trust us when we say: technical documentation? Go for Adobe FrameMaker.
#2 Adobe InDesign
When it comes to translation and localization it’s not only the technical documentation that desktop publishing is about. Most business entrepreneurs with an ambition to globally grow their business decide to translate and localize their marketing and promotional content such as brochures and flyers. Working on the content and making sure it corresponds with company logo, animated characters or any other additional designs can be a challenge, unless you decide to use Adobe InDesign.
In the publishing industry Adobe InDesign is also an efficient and reliable tool. Magazines, books regardless of whether they are in print or digital, need to be properly translated and localized to match the specific language, locale and brand’s layout requirements.
Whether you localize marketing materials, pre and post-sales content, a promotional brochure, a book or a magazine, if you’re looking to work on a reliable and efficient tool, Adobe InDesign should be the tool of your choice. It certainly is for us.
#3 Adobe Photoshop
When you translate content that includes graphics or animated gifs, Adobe Photoshop is the photo and design software worth considering. Although in layman’s world it seems to be a tool used to make funny memes or graphics of Mr. Bean look like Chuck Norris, in localization industry it is an established and recognized tool.
It’s an efficient tool to use for creating graphics and adapting them to specific layout requirements as well as creating and working on logos, website designs and any type of digital art that supports business companies in their worldwide expansion. And since your translation and localization services are one of the most crucial factors in your customers’ growth, making sure graphics, regardless of their type and use, are created in localized efficiently and perfectly should be one of your focus points.
Over the years, working in desktop publishing services, we have found that Adobe Photoshop makes for a reliable, easy to use and efficient tool not only when it comes to adapting graphics, logos and other visual details of the content we work on. Whenever we need to work directly in applications, Adobe Photoshop makes for a great support as well.
#4 Adobe Illustrator
While Adobe Photoshop is used for photo editing, whether it’s retouching or a larger photo art, Adobe Illustrator is recommended for creating vector graphics. This is to do with mathematical aspect of graphic design such as points, lines and shapes rather than pixels.
When working on desktop publishing project for graphic compositions, we use Adobe Illustrator to create small graphics, linked directly to translated manual instructions, and to create larger, stand-alone publications.
Depending on the type of graphic design we work on, we decide on whether to use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. When you contact your DTP providers, make sure they know exactly what type of graphics you will need them to handle and ask about the tool they use. Your delivery time depends on it.
QuarkXPress is, in our opinion a software worth having. It is used to produce layouts from small single-page flyers to large projects for magazines, catalogs and so on. Even though we haven’t received large numbers of requests for projects involving this tool, there are certain clients coming to us with documentation created using this software.
Despite its few disadvantages, QuarkXPress is still useful to consider it for its features such as functionality of font, alignment, spacing and color as well as professional typesetting options. It offers also support for e-books, Web and mobile applications, which is a relevant aspect when it comes to projects like website translation or software localization.